Linking hate speech online and hate crime

The word 'hate' on a keyboard

Photo by promesaartstudio/Adobe Stock


Official reports often underestimate the true prevalence of hate crime. Difficulty then arises in identifying trends in hate crime, especially at a local level. As online hate speech becomes more and more prolific, this information may be used to identify where hate crimes are most likely to occur and at whom they are most likely targeted.


RAND has joined together with Cardiff University to analyse online hate speech and examine whether online speech data can be used to identify areas where offline hate crimes are most likely to occur. In doing so, the research will aim to inform strategies to prevent and address hate crimes.


The research team will analyse geolocated tweets from Los Angeles spanning a one-year period. The team will test two methods that could connect online hate speech and offline hate crimes. The final element will involve using risk terrain modelling to identify areas at high risk of hate crimes, based partially on Twitter activity in the area.